Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama -- The Final Betrayal Of The Left? -- Iraq Policy Flip -- UPDATE, Obama Denies Any Change

 Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Thursday backed off his firm promise to withdraw combat forces from Iraq immediately and instead said he could “refine” his plan after his trip to Baghdad later this month.

Earlier, a top Obama adviser had said that the senator is not “wedded” to a specific timeline.

Obama told reporters in Fargo, N.D., that he is “going to do a thorough assessment." 
Politico -- Obama to 'refine' Iraq plan

Update -- The Obama camp denies this report and claims there has been no change in his policy, still set to withdraw within 16 months.

But that is not what his campaign said earlier in the day.  Patterico has the details of all 3 or 4 or 5 or... policy statements on this issue.  Is Obama's strategy to confuse the hell out of everyone then they can't attack anything?  He's still gonna get the votes, he figures.

CAFE -- It's Gonna Cost You

Earlier this year, the Bush administration surprised a lot of green activists by actually surpassing the already challenging CAFE standards for 2011-2015. While automakers like Toyota, Ford, and GM are quietly going about the business of hitting those targets, BMW is speaking up and saying that the targets are unattainable. The German automaker has asked the Bush administration for an alternative plan that helps out the hardest hit automakers, and the new rules are a punch to the gut for the Bavarian Motor crew.

While the corporate average for cars and trucks is 35.7 mpg and 28.6 mpg by 2015, BMW has to hit 37.7 mpg and 31.7 mpg, respectively. The reason for the disparity is the sliding scale the government used to account for differences in size in each automaker's lineup. Since BMW doesn't sell pickup trucks and it has plenty of small and midsize offerings, BMW has to hit higher fuel economy standards. What the CAFE numbers don't take into account is the fact that all BMWs are RWD, and there isn't a four cylinder engine to be found (in the U.S., yet). The Bush administration says its final fuel economy numbers will become public by the end of the year, and if companies like BMW don't get special dispensations, look for there to be smaller engines on the horizion, or bigger fines. 
Autoblog -- BMW calls CAFE 'not feasible'

Ten months ago, Bob Lutz said GM cars would be $5,000 more expensive if the Bush administration got its way with fuel standards by raising fuel economy 4% every year through 2017. Bush didn't get his way, but Congress did with its newly-signed-into-law energy bill that requires automakers have a fleet average of 35 MPG by 2020. According to Lutz, that's going to be even more expensive: "This is going to be a net average cost of $6,000 per vehicle, which will have to be passed onto the consumer."

Lutz said that the premium would actually range from $4,000 to $10,000, and that "it won't come all at once, because 35 mpg doesn't kick in all at once." No one said that saving the world was going to be cheap -- but $6,000 per vehicle? We look forward to figuring out which vehicles will bear the brunt of the plan. Add $10,000 to the price of a ZR-1 and no one's really going to notice. Add $6,000 to the price of a CTS and, depending on how much more expensive its competition gets, things could get interesting. Add $4,000 to the price of an Aveo and you've probably sent a fair number of buyers elsewhere.
Autoblog Green -- Lutz says new CAFE standards will increase car price by $6 grand

Credit Where Credit Is CLAMIED -- In Spite Of The Facts

Barack Obama aligned himself with welfare reform on Monday, launching a television ad which touts the way the overhaul “slashed the rolls by 80 percent.” Obama leaves out, however, that he was against the 1996 federal legislation which precipitated the caseload reduction.

“I am not a defender of the status quo with respect to welfare,” Obama said on the floor of the Illinois state Senate on May 31, 1997. “Having said that, I probably would not have supported the federal legislation, because I think it had some problems.”

Obama’s transformation from opponent to champion of welfare reform is the latest in a series of moves to the center. Since capturing the Democratic nomination, Obama has altered his stances on Social Security taxes, meeting with rogue leaders without preconditions, and the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.’s, sweeping gun ban.
ABC News

Daily Trek -- July 3, 2008

What'd I miss?

Everything you need to know to stay informed each day in 5 minutes or less!  Read your regular news and include this and you will be able to participate in any current events discussion.
President Bush blasted the Democrats on oil yesterday: "One thing is for certain here in the United States, that we can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country -- something I've been advocating ever since I've been the President."

Was there a "meta-message" in Obama's patriotism speech and what is a meta-message?  American Thinker has both answers, (hint, yes, and the message between the lines are the answers).

Iraqi TV ran a Public Service Announcement blaming Iran for the violence as they move more toward American sphere of influence and away from Iran.

For some reason Fox News appears to be the only reporting on improvements in Iraq.  What is really strange is that those damn 'benchmarks' the Democrats were howling about earlier this year are now 15/18 completed!

Did you hear the one about the Democratic Congressman who put up a picture honoring WWII veterans --- of the Soviet Union?
Just a short Trek today, it's the exhaustion.

About Those "Unused" Oil Leases -- A Lie By Any Other Name

To deflect the GOP effort to relax the offshore-drilling ban – and thus boost supply while demand will remain strong – Democrats also say that most of the current leases are "nonproducing." The idea comes from a "special report" prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Resources Committee, chaired by Mr. Rahall. "If we extrapolate from today's production rates on federal lands and waters," the authors write, the oil companies could "nearly double total U.S. oil production" (their emphasis).

In other words, these whiz kids assume that every acre of every lease holds the same amount of oil and gas. Yet the existence of a lease does not guarantee that the geology holds recoverable resources. Brian Kennedy of the Institute for Energy Research quips that, using the same extrapolation, the 9.4 billion acres of the currently nonproducing moon should yield 654 million barrels of oil per day.
Nonetheless, the House still went through with a gesture called the "use it or lose it" bill, which passed on Thursday 223-195. It would be pointless even if it had a chance of becoming law. Oil companies acquire leases in the expectation that some of them contain sufficient oil and gas to cover the total costs. Yet it takes years to move through federal permitting, exploration and development. The U.S. Minerals Management Service notes that only one of three wells results in a discovery of oil that can be recovered economically. In deeper water, it's one of five. All this involves huge risks, capital investment – and time.
If anything, the Democrats ought to be dancing in the streets about "idle" leases. It means fewer rigs. The days of hit-or-miss wildcatting have been relegated to the past by new, more efficient technologies, such as seismic imaging, directional drilling (wells that are "steered" underground) and multilateral drilling (multiple underground offshoots from a single wellbore).
At the same time, finding new reservoirs has become far more complex. Except for a few very large fields discovered decades ago like Prudhoe Bay, most recent discoveries have been smaller, deeper and less concentrated. The U.S. needs a continuous supply of discoveries to replace declining wells.
Yet companies are not allowed to explore where the biggest prospects for oil and gas may exist – especially on the Outer Continental Shelf. Seven of the top 20 U.S. oil fields are now located in analogous deepwater areas (greater than 1,000 feet) in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2006, Chevron discovered what is likely to be the largest American oil find since Prudhoe, drilled in 7,000 feet of water and more than 20,000 feet under the sea floor. The Wilcox formation may have an upper end of 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil and should begin producing by 2014 – perhaps ushering in a new ultradeepwater frontier.
Likewise, in April, the U.S. Geological Survey revised its estimate for the Bakken Shale, underneath the badlands of North Dakota and Montana. The new assessment – as much as 4.3 billion barrels of oil – is a 25-fold increase over what the Survey believed in 1995. Such breakthroughs confirm that very large reserves exist, if only Congress would let business get at them.
All of which has Democrats sweating bullets. The leadership is desperate to avoid debating a Department of Interior spending bill, because they know Republicans will offer amendments lifting the drilling moratorium that may peel off some Democrats. Last week, Chairman David Obey shut down the Appropriations Committee rather than countenance more domestic energy production. Given Democratic energy illiteracy, this is a fight the GOP can win if it keeps up the pressure.
WSJ -- Obama's Dry Hole

Markets Work -- US Oil Consumption Drops To 2002 Levels

For most of the post-WWII era US oil consumption went up year after year. One deviation from that came in the early 1980s. An even longer lasting and probably permanent deviation from that trend is developing. Americans have traveled back in a sort of time machine to 2002 levels of oil usage.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration revised downward U.S. April oil demand by 863,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 19.77 million bpd -- 3.9 percent below year-ago levels. The revision, which showed April demand was the lowest for the month since April 2002, came even before gasoline prices surged to new records in June.
But on a per capita basis the reduction in oil usage is even larger since the US population grows about 1% per year. So has US oil usage per capita gone down 10% since 2002? 
FuturePundit -- US Oil Comsumption Falls Back To 2002 Levels

Obama Approves Of Premptive Attacks -- On His Political Opponents That Is

Thus far, no one with any serious affiliation to John McCain’s campaign has resorted to the alleged “scare” tactics in which Republicans — and, apparently, only Republicans — have been perfecting since Richard Nixon was first elected. On the contrary, if the past few months have showed us anything, it’s that the Obama campaign is the one dealing in crude smears. … It’s curious how anyone could argue that a man with such visceral understanding of the capacity for what America’s enemies will do to our men and women in uniform doesn’t fully appreciate the cost of war. But even more troubling is the unmistakable pattern of these smears, all of them unsubtly alleging that McCain is an unhinged, mentally unstable warmonger who would deploy soldiers capriciously because he hasn’t truly experienced the horrors of ground battle. Indeed, the claims of these four men — and the short period of time in which they were all uttered — are so similar in tone that one would be foolish not to at least consider the possibility they were coordinated by the Obama campaign. Nevertheless, the fears of Obama supporters that their candidate lies eternally vulnerable to GOP smears exists only in their fevered imaginations. The evidence of dirty Republican tricks has been utterly absent this campaign season. And if anyone has tried to smear Barack Obama in the way that Thomas, Wolfe and other Democratic partisans allege, it was not the Republican National Committee, but rather Hillary Rodham Clinton and her surrogates. In February, the Drudge Report claimed that the Clinton campaign circulated photos of Obama in a traditional East African turban and robe, with the message that the images showed him “dressed.” Asked if there was any truth to the smear that Obama is a Muslim, she infamously replied, “As far as I know,” it wasn’t the case. After the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, she said the results showed that “Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.”
This is a part of the same overall strategy that beat Hillary. DKK Via Hot Air

Columbian Troops Free 15 FARC Terrorist Hostages Including 3 Americans

Ms Betancourt, who was captured in 2002, and the three Americans held since 2003, were rescued along with 11 Colombian soldiers in a dramatic and bloodless operation when a Colombian military team posing as rebels removed them from the jungle by helicopter.

It was an impressive operation, read the whole thing.

It appears FARC  may be on its deathbed as was reported earlier -- despite their support of Hugo Chavez.
UN Telegraph

American Views On Energy And Environment Predictably Changing

A new poll shows high gasoline prices have dramatically changed Americans’ views on energy and the environment. More people now say expanding oil drilling and building new power plants is a bigger priority than energy conservation.
The poll by the Pew Research Center shows nearly half of those surveyed — or 47 percent — now rate energy exploration, drilling and building new power plants more important, compared with 35 percent in February.
The Pew poll of about 2,000 adults conducted in late June shows the shift toward energy development across the political spectrum including among Democrats, political independents, liberals and young people.

This was titled, "An unexpected result of high gas prices," but I'm not sure why Knoxvilletalks didn't expect it, it is an economic reality with the increase in demand and price.
Knoxville Talks

Timeless Words

America must get to work producing more energy. The Republican program for solving economic problems is based on growth and productivity.

Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores, untouched because the present administration seems to believe the American people would rather see more regulation, taxes and controls than more energy.

Coal offers great potential. So does nuclear energy produced under rigorous safety standards. It could supply electricity for thousands of industries and millions of jobs and homes. It must not be thwarted by a tiny minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns.

Make no mistake. We will not permit the safety of our people or our environment heritage to be jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment.

Our problems are both acute and chronic, yet all we hear from those in positions of leadership are the same tired proposals for more government tinkering, more meddling and more control -- all of which led us to this state in the first place.

Acceptance Speech at the 1980 Republican Convention
by Ronald Reagan
July 17, 1980


(Emphasis added)

Utterly Exhausted -- Bounce Back Week

I'm really sorry I haven't posted more -- I experienced post exertional fatigue (exhaustion is a better word) after last week's testing.  I will get back to regular posting as soon as I can.
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